“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a courageous act.”
ON TWEETS AND RETWEETS, CRISES AND OPPORTUNITIES
So many of you have written to me to ask what my reaction has been to the February 17 tweet by one Tony Annett that said EWTN should be under interdict until they “get rid of Raymond Arroyo,” a remark retweeted by a papal advisor.
My immediate reaction was confusion. If it had been April 1, I’d have thought it was an April Fools Day remark. That confusion turned to consternation, however, as I considered the source of the retweet.
What prompted that tweet and retweet? It seems to be this tweet from Edward Pentin on February 16: .@RobertSRoyal and @GeraldMurray8 dissect @antoniospadaro’s speech at Georgetown, the Vatican’s approach to China and @CardinalBCupich’s seminars on #AmorisLaetitia on @worldoverdc with @RaymondArroyo https://youtu.be/rYh3jMo49xU
11:05 PM – 16 Feb 2018
On February 17, we read: Tony Annett Retweeted Edward Pentin
Tony Annett @tonyannett Feb 17 Make no mistake, these attacks on @antoniospadaro and @CardinalBCupich represent “total war” on the papacy of Pope Francis. Time to interdict @EWTN until they get rid of @RaymondArroyo.
We then read that Fr. Antonio Spadaro retweeted Tony Annett’s tweet.
When you retweet, it either means you agree with what you retweeted (I’ve done it scores of times with tweets from Pope Francis) and let it go without commentary OR you disagree and then comment and explain why.
Fr. Spadaro (I visited his site and only read a very small portion of his over 32,000 tweets!) did not make a comment so I am assuming he agreed with Annett.
Why would he? Who is he?
Who is Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J. in addition to being a Jesuit confrère of Pope Francis and editor-in-chief of the Jesuit-affiliated magazine Civilta Cattolica?
He is a papal confident who, I have been told by numerous colleagues in the media and friends, lay and priests alike, in the Roman Curia, has the papal ear 24/7. While Pope Francis has the C9 cardinal advisors and talks to other people and meets regularly with heads of office and dicasteries of the Roman Curia, and is said to listen to them when they answers his questions or when they office advice, it seems he really listens to Spadaro.
If you were an avid reader of Fr. Spadaro’s speeches and his tweets, you’d come to know his liberal bent on many matters, as you would his little or no love for the United States.
How does Fr. Spadaro feel about America, and how many of his feelings and ideas has he transmitted to Pope Francis, whom he sees more than regularly at the Santa Marta residence?
Here is one reaction (and I could post many more!) to a Civilta Cattolica piece from last July about religion in America (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture):
With a harsh denunciation of American conservatism, published in the semi-official Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, the Vatican has plunged headlong into a partisan debate in a society that it clearly does not understand, potentially alienating (or should I say, further alienating) the Americans most inclined to favor the influence of the Church.
Why? Why this bitter attack on the natural allies of traditional Catholic teachings? Is it because the most influential figures at the Vatican today actually want to move away from those traditional teachings, and form a new alliance with modernity?
The authors of the essay claim to embrace ecumenism, but they have nothing but disdain for the coalition formed by Catholics and Evangelical Protestants in the United States. They scold American conservatives for seeing world events as a struggle of good against evil, yet they clearly convey the impression that they see American conservativism as an evil influence that must be defeated.
While they are quick to pronounce judgment on American politicians, the two authors betray an appalling ignorance of the American scene. The authors toss Presidents Nixon (a Quaker), Reagan, Bush, and Trump into the same religious classification, suggesting that they were all motivated by “fundamentalist” principles. An ordinary American, reading this account, would be surprised to see the authors’ preoccupation with the late Rev. Rousas Rushdoony and the Church Militant web site: hardly major figures in the formation of American public opinion. The essay is written from the perspective of people who draw their information about America from left-wing journals rather than from practical experience.
What we seem to have in Fr. Spadaro and Tony Annett is a visceral dislike of anyone or any entity that disagrees with or questions or criticizes Pope Francis.
If you started to list those who have questioned the Holy Father because he has not been clear about something or he has caused confusion or people simply want him to resolve a matter, that list would include cardinals, bishops, priests, scholars, theologians and faithful, committed lay Catholics. There are those who indeed have challenged the Pope but the majority are simply people who want to resolve a doubt. And when a doubt is about the Church teaching, doctrine, morals or Magisterium, it must be cleared up.
I remember in high school getting a homework assignment wherein the teacher had not been clear at all what she wanted us to do. She was known for being overly verbose and often unclear (derailed from her original thought) when explaining something. I raised my hand to ask her what she meant and heard my classmates whisper, ‘thanks, Joan, I didn’t understand that either.’
The teacher was not happy to be questioned but soon understood I was not the only one who didn’t understand the assignment, and she repeated it, her explanation was clear and that was that.
Here’s another take on the now famous – or infamous – tweet from Robert Royal, This appeared as a Note before his column yesterday in “The Catholic Thing”:
Note: Heartfelt thanks to all of you who expressed support and offered prayers over the past few days after stories appeared about a retweet by Antonio Spadaro S.J., a close collaborator of the Holy Father’s, calling on EWTN to fire Raymond Arroyo for his criticisms of various recent papal moves (and no doubt for the now five-year run of the Papal Posse). Or be placed under interdict.
This was either a weak attempt at intimidation or a lame attempt at humor – in either case, quite imprudent from someone who knows that what he says is taken, rightly or wrongly, to reflect back on Pope Francis.
Be assured, this portends no serious harm to me. This is why we have independent think-tanks and publications like The Catholic Thing, so that at least some in both Church and society may speak freely. Fr. Murray is most likely fine as well. But it’s not entirely a laughing matter for a prominent media figure like the talented Mr. Arroyo. If you want to express support, take a look at #imwithRaymond.
In any case, it will have no effect on our labors to understand and speak truth as we see it. – RR
And here’s the column that followed that Note: Three Crises – and Three Opportunities:
A wickedly funny website on matters Catholic, Ignatius His Conclave, recently pointed out that, in the currently casual logic of the Church, Communion for the divorced and remarried is:
1) a conscience matter (Cardinal Blase Cupich in February), or
2) subject to local regulation, which may lead to differences among bishops and national bishops’ conferences (the pope in Amoris laetitia and various spokesmen at various times), or
3) that “there are no other interpretations” than that of the Argentine bishops, since the papal letter saying so was published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (June 2017).
Which of these mutually exclusive possibilities is now normative, or will be at some future date, is anybody’s guess.
Read on to learn more about the Three Crises and Three Opportunities: